University Council Minutes

November 1, 1999

Present: Greg Brown, Landrum Cross, Ben Dixon, Peter Eyre, Eileen Hitchingham, Paul Knox, Peggy Meszaros, Carole Nickerson, Len Peters, Jennie Reilly, Minnis Ridenour, Ray Smoot, Hap Bonham (for Rich Sorensen), Kim O'Rourke (for Charles Steger), Andy Swiger, Tom Tillar, Paul Torgersen, Cindy Harrison, Pat Hyer, Mitzi Vernon, Julia Beamish, Irene Leech, Terry Herdman, Sean Blackburn, Jay Sullivan, Joe Hunnings, Richard Bambach, Skip Fuhrman, Kamal Rojiani, Annette Burr (for Paul Metz), Tim Pratt, John Hillison, John Randolph, Rebecca Crittenden, Pat Devens, Suzanne Murrmann, John Seiler, Rodney Gaines, Jovette Gadson, Pete Martens, Donna Cassell, Anita Haney, Delbert Jones, Ben Poe, Kimberly DeGuise, Tomoya Ochinero, Mike Whipple, Shawn Breck, Jennifer Smith (for Drew Lichtenberger), Aaron McClung, Laurie Steneck, Peter Zippelius

Absent: Bob Bates, Erv Blythe, Janet Johnson, Bill Stephenson, Deborah Mayo, Dan Connolly, Sam Hicks, Bernard Feldman, Aaron Hill, Taj Mahon-Haft,

Guests: David Ford, Steve Clark-Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs

  1. Adoption of Agenda

    A motion was made and seconded to adopt the agenda. The motion carried.

  2. Announcement of approval and posting of Council Minutes of October 18, 1999

    Dr. Torgersen noted that the minutes from the October 18, 1999, University Council meeting have been voted on and approved electronically. Once voted upon, University Council minutes can be publicly accessed on the Governance Information System on the WEB. (/)

  3. New Business - First Reading

    Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Committee Resolution 1999-2000A, Resolution Regarding Membership of the EOAA Committee

    Interim Director of EOAA Jennie Reilly presented this resolution for first reading. Dr. Reilly shared that the resolution requests a change in ex-officio membership in the EOAA Committee, adding the Vice President for Multicultural Affairs by virtue of the position.

  4. Council approved a packet of Commission minutes comprised of:

  5. For Information Only

    It was noted that the minutes of the University Advisory Council on Strategic Budgeting and Planning dated September 30, 1999, were distributed for information only.

  6. Discussion

    Alcohol Issues and Programs, Dr. Landrum Cross, Vice President for Student Affairs and Mr. Steve Clark, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Students

    Dr. Landrum Cross opened discussion reminding Council that at this time last year a presentation was being prepared for the Board of Visitors regarding the response to the Attorney General's task force report on college drinking behavior in Virginia. It was a comprehensive plan including enforcement policy development, intervention and education. The BOV approved the plan and at that point Mr. Steve Clark was brought in to coordinate this plan. Mr. Clark is a research associate from the Department of Psychology and has a great deal of expertise in this programming area. Dr. Cross noted that the survey conducted took place at the beginning of the initiative and it may take a few years to make changes. Response from students has been very encouraging. Additional programming support was launched for non-alcohol alternative activities and a number of student organizations are planning these programs.

    Steve Clark gave an overview of what efforts are currently underway and outlined new initiatives and new programs being considered for the next 6-12 months. In July 1998 the Attorney General Task Force recommended every college develop a plan to address alcohol abuse on college campuses. Virginia Tech responded with a 17-point plan, which began as early as September 1998.

    Virginia Tech uses the Core Alcohol and Other Drug Survey, which is a national survey. Greek organizations were over sampled in order to have better numbers to study the Greek population. Twenty-five local questions were added to the survey. In the spring of 2000 all Corps of Cadets' members and student athletes will be surveyed. There is an effort to increase alcohol-free events. All UUSA events on campus are alcohol-free. It was found that students moved their UUSA sponsored events out of the primary drinking times because of low attendance on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. There is an effort to reverse this through: new web sites promoting Thursday-Saturday events, increased programming on Thursday-Saturday evenings, new operating hours for Squires Student Center, McComas Hall is staying open until midnight, initiatives to increase student award programs, designated driver program, and program to reduce misperceptions concerning college student alcohol use. Some organizations have received extra funding to support these activities.

    Mr. Clark shared statistical data in regard to alcohol use among college students. It was noted that 54% of the Virginia Tech students drink. Most consume four or fewer drinks on an occasion. Alcohol use on campus is promoted to educate students. Four to five messages will be used this year through a program called "Reality Check." This information was received from a group of 200 students and includes: 72% never perform poorly in school, 68% miss two or fewer classes, 57% do not believe that drinking is a good way to deal with stress. These were rated high by students as being possible effective messages.

    The Training Intervention Procedures for Servers of Alcohol (TIPS) program is continuing this year. Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) is providing the training free of charge. All programs provide the following safe drinking message: sip to avoid negative consequences, alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, focus on fun rather than drinking, eat food before and while drinking. The legal age of 21 is emphasized in educational programs. There is increased enforcement -- judicial action is taken for off-campus alcohol violations that result in summons or arrests. In the spring of 1999 there were 128 referrals from Blacksburg Police Department and Virginia ABC. Parents of students under 21 are notified if students have a major alcohol violations. Regarding parental notification, parents' response has been positive, student response is mixed. There is reemphasis of Greek organizations risk management policy. Private parties are a major concern. Statistics show that underage drinking occurs at fraternity parties (51%-58%), private parties (72%-77%), bars (36%-39%), among other areas. It is estimated that between and 25%-30% of underage students have a false id. There were 125 student referrals; most were minors in possession of alcohol, drunk in public, and fake ids. Beginning in fall of 1999 referrals are also taken from the Christiansburg Police and Montgomery Sheriffs Office with efforts to expand to other jurisdictions. Sorority risk management probably made the greatest stride - the only group on campus to show a statistical decline in drinking behavior over the last year, about one drink per drinking occasion. Sororities are initiating a new Risk Reduction Program, part of five schools involved with Department of Education developing new program for fraternity women on campus in part dealing with alcohol and other drugs. At the national level, beginning next year all NIC sororities will not be able to drink at fraternity houses and will not be able to attend any events at fraternity houses where alcohol is present. All events with alcohol will have to be with third party vendors, such as bars. As of January 1, 2000, 12 fraternities will go dry, meaning that no alcohol will be allowed in the fraternity house - not even to members who live there who are 21 years of age. Others are considering this plan of action. Steve Clark is working with the leadership of these fraternities to support them in their efforts. Fraternity members drink more than any other group, other than possibly athletes.

    There are new educational sanctions, the major one being a new intensive five-session program that focuses on risk reduction. Students are charged $100 for the class to cover the cost of interns from the Counseling Center to teach the class and graduate and undergraduate students who help facilitate the classes. This is a new program still in the development stage.

    There is a "Reality Check" program that is implemented for first time offenders, a one-hour program conducted once a week. This program focuses on making low risk choices, myth reduction, individual feedback, and harm reduction.

    Faculty have expressed an interest in getting information and assistance in identifying and referring students with alcohol related problems. Steve Clark has given five presentations so far this year in a number of classes, several have been freshman classes. There are also faculty interested in curriculum infusion -- integrating alcohol related information into coursework of the actual class. Funding is being sought to assist faculty in this initiative.

    Course survey results show: significant increases in student awareness of alcohol policies; increased student involvement in prevention activities on campus -- women and Greek organizations specifically have increased substantially; increased beliefs that enforcement is up at Virginia Tech; students believe that Virginia Tech is concerned about alcohol abuse. Greeks and athletes believe that alcohol should be available and used on campus. Mr. Clark shared statistics regarding the use of alcohol prior to entering college showing that students are coming into college with more experience with alcohol. Many of the educational programs are directed toward freshmen. In response to a question, Mr. Clark shared that students coming into college with more experience with alcohol are more of a risk. There is also a real problem with students who did not drink before college and then go through a real change to consume alcohol when entering college. This survey showed a relatively large increase in drinking among women. The only sub-population at Virginia Tech whose drinking increased last year was freshman women.

    In response to a question regarding the reactions of parents who have been notified of a student drinking violation, Steve Clark responded that he has only received one phone call as to why they (the parents) received this information when they feel their son/daughter drinks responsibly. Jeff Cullen in Judicial Affairs will be doing a study in regard to the parental notification initiative. Overall, parents are positive.

    Concern was expressed by a member of Council that the designated pick-up points would encourage on-campus students to attend parties. Mr. Clark noted that this is to provide designated drivers.

    Leaders of Greek organizations drink more than their membership; therefore there is an effort to establish better leadership standards and have members think more about who they elect as their leaders.

    In response to a question regarding the survey, Mr. Clark noted that this survey was sent to 1000 male and 1000 female students. Greeks were over sampled by 150 males and 150 females. Greeks were removed for some data analysis.

    Women consuming one less drink than men are equally intoxicated. Females experience more negative outcomes than males at the same drinking level. Front loading, drinking before you go to a party or bar, is heavily correlated with negative outcomes.

    Mr. Clark responded to a question in regard to drinking rates now compared to 20 years ago. He stated that drinking rates were not as high then. Twenty years ago drinking was part of the social experience, today people get together with the sole purpose of drinking to the point of intoxication.

    A question was raised in regard to the program covering the medical aspects of drinking. Mr. Clark noted that this is covered in the five-session program. Working with Student Health Services in this regard is an initiative Mr. Clark would like to look at.

    Current resources include: Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs; another judicial officer; $16,000 from Health Services as part of the student fee increase - most of this is for the campus-wide "Reality Check" program; $10,000 from alcohol class - evens out what it costs to do the program; $27,000 -- $25,000 for two years for the designated river program -- from the Department of Motor Vehicles; $27,050 from Virginia ABC to focus on designated driving and pedestrian safety; Anheuser Busch donated $5,000 for designated driver program; $1,000 from Department of Education; $6,000 from Virginia ABC to increase enforcement efforts. $25,000 over the next two years from a joint grant between VT, JMU and Virginia ABC to develop a state-wide coalition of colleges, university and major stakeholders to create four regional consortia to increase collaboration on and off campus, skill building, etc. $6,000 went to the Virginia Tech Police to hire a judge or clerks to help process arrests at home football games. Extra patrols to focus on enforcement of Commonwealth alcohol laws. Increased off-campus enforcement at private and fraternity parties to focus on those who are selling alcohol illegally. There are a number of pending grants: one for $35,000 every two years to develop a community coalition on alcohol in Blacksburg, $80,000 every two years for increased enforcement efforts in Blacksburg, $5,000 grant to Virginia ABC for new alcohol abuse prevention initiatives, Robert Wood Johnson grant to develop new strategies to train bar personnel on making more positive ids.

    Mr. Clark agreed with a concern regarding campus parties being moved off campus and moving them from under our control. Mr. Clark also responded to a question regarding an increase to the legal drinking age. Many top prevention experts in the field have lobbied for this change. Lives on the road have been saved by lowering the drinking age. There will probably not be a rollback.

    In response to a question concerning how many students have been suspended due to alcohol violations, Mr. Clark did not have information available to respond.

    It was noted that library hours have been extended in a pilot program to give students more choices.

    Steve Clark emphasized that we do need to support people who make low-risk choices. Most of our students are making low-risk choices. The top 20% of drinkers on campus consume 60% of all alcohol, the top 10% consume 40% of the alcohol. The bottom 50% consume 10% of the alcohol.

    Dr. Cross closed the discussion commenting that this is a complex issue. He also noted that the university is taking a comprehensive approach and trying to deal with the reality of the situation of what we think is happening.

    Dr. Meszaros adjourned the meeting at 4:05 p.m.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Carole Nickerson
    Executive Assistant to the President


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